2ii, was ill during course



I wish to do a Ph.D in Medicinal Chemistry or Bioinorganic chemistry. However I have a 2ii. I know most deparments prefer a 2i, but illness during exams in the first semester caused me to under achieve. This in reflected in my grades as I preformed significantly better in the second semester.

I don't want to do an MSc if I don't have to. How can I convey to the deparments this information so my application will be considered fairly.


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Most studentships in the UK are funded by the Research Councils who set the entry requirements. These are fairly strict and unless you have relevant research experience or a Masters degree you are very unlikely to get in. People may also think that if you were ill during your first semester, your undergraduate university will/should have taken this into account when awarding your final degree. Taking a post as a research assistant and registering for a part time PhD is a possibility. These posts are often advertised as PhD's and usually take the same time to complete. Entry criteria are at the discretion of the supervisor, but competition for these is often high as the money is better than an ordinary studentship. Try looking for an MRes as this may convert better to a PhD.


I contacted the EPSRC about entry requirements and they stated that it lies with the institution who they give the place to. I don't know about other research councils however.

Should I state informally in an e mail to departments that illness affected my performance or in a covering letter?


Yes it is up to the department who they let in but it is also their responsibility to make sure that the student has, or is going to have, the required grades to get in. Almost all councils set a 2:1 lower boundary, but do have exceptions, including illness. See section 3 of the BBSRC booklet on this site (see funding page) for an example of what the exceptions are to 'unexpectedly low degree results'.


From the EPSRC. Quote "In relation to qualifications, students must be able to demonstrate a capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to the standard necessary to qualify for PhD. This normally requires an upper second class honours degree, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level. The University may use its discretion in making decisions on the suitability of individual candidates for research training.

The University is expected to apply the eligibility criteria in a fair and transparent manner, recognising that an element of judgement may be required in individual cases."


Just for people who don't know that. Most of the chemistry related PhD's are funded by the EPSRC.

I'm thinking I should just tell them I was ill when I talk to the department.